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Heathrow: Nine passengers to sue over emergency landing

A group of nine passengers involved in an emergency landing at Heathrow in May this year have launched legal action against the aircraft manufacturer Airbus and engine maker International Aero Engines, reports the BBC.

The British Airways flight, scheduled from London to Oslo, had 75 passengers on board when it took off from Heathrow in May. Shortly after takeoff the pilot felt a 'small bump' prompting him to return to Heathrow for an emergency landing.

Passengers were safely evacuated, despite a fire breaking out shortly after the landing, resulting in dramatic scenes of black smoke pouring out of the engine.

However, the passengers were shocked to learn later that the cause of the incident was the engine covers being left unlatched. The 'cowl doors' broke off on takeoff, with one shearing the plane's engine fuel pipe, causing a significant fuel leak.

A report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) concluded that the fire had actually broken out in the air, but only affected one engine. The AAIB concluded that pilots should always check engine door covers before boarding for takeoff.

Now it seems that a cohort of nine passengers will sue the plane manufacturer and the engine manufacturer for damages.

Alexandra Townsley was a passenger on the stricken flight. She told the BBC that the incident had left a significant psychological mark on her and others.

"It was absolutely terrifying. My sister and I had a clear view of the engine fire. I remember thinking to myself that I was going to die," she said.

"I am angry to now discover that this had occurred so many times before and the airlines and manufacturers do not appear to have done anything about it," she added.

It is thought the claim could eventually be joined by other passengers, and could lead to compensation payouts amounting to millions of pounds.


Heathrow emergency: Nine passengers sue (BBC News)